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BBM for Android and iOS hands-on review

30 Oct 2013

After a long wait, it is finally time to welcome to iOS and Android smartphones the most notorious instant messenger of them all - the one that allegedly was at the centre of the London riots.

Perhaps that's a little harsh because Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was a hugely innovative alternative at a time when most smartphone users were still battling Windows CE and Symbian.

bbmandroidHowever, its release now means that Blackberry has decided to wade into a market already successfully occupied by Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Facebook Chat, Chaton, Whatsapp, Kik, Tango, Viber and at least a dozen more.  We still think it deserves a fair trial because, to be fair, it's not a bad app.

Unlike Blackberry users, users of Android and iOS devices are required to use their email address as their user name. You're also required to think up a password, a password reminder question and a password reminder answer. Finally you're given your PIN, which consists of a not-so-catchy eight character letters and numbers combination. Then you're ready to add some friends.

Except, if you've never had a Blackberry, probably very few of your friends or contacts ever had a Blackberry, and even if they had, you wouldn't know their PIN, so why would you? Fortunately Blackberry gives you the option to invite people by email, barcode, SMS or social media. So what actually happens is that you spend the next 20 minutes telling your friends that they can chat with you on BBM, by chatting with them on Facebook or Twitter or whatever other social network you use.

And therein lies the rub. The need to communicate with people across networks has overtaken the decision to create and release this app, and therefore rendered BBM a bit pointless, because there are plenty of alternatives that are well established at doing just that.

bbmiosOf course there are some nice touches. Group chat and broadcast messages are useful features, but you'd need a big group of contacts to consciously decide to switch to it as your main form of messaging, and there just isn't enough here to convert anyone.

We like the fact that you can see when a message has been delivered and read, but many IM apps already do that, and besides, there's a very good way of telling if someone has received your side of the conversation, because they start talking back. That's how conversation works.

We also like the fact that you can instantly become BBM buddies with someone using NFC over Android, though this could cause an interesting long-winded turn of events when it suddenly becomes clear you've spent the last 10 minutes trying to NFC to an iPhone.

The  user interface of the BBM app is reasonably smooth, but lacks a little spit and polish. In some cases avatars failed to appear for our contacts, and there's an irritatingly persistent notification at the top of the screen that adds little except to stop the BBM app from being automatically closed by the system, a problem that most apps overcame several years ago.

In summary, any kudos that Blackberry deserves for the introduction of BBM as a cross-platform messaging tool is outweighed by the fact that while it might have been a hugely popular app a few years ago, it now seems like just another messaging app. At the moment, we can't see BBM making the impact that Blackberry might hope for. This app needs not just to be good, it has to be game changing, and there is little sign of that.

Nokia Lumia 1520 hands-on review

29 Oct 2013

ABU DHABI: Nokia's Lumia 1520 is a departure from Lumia devices of old. Featuring a 6in HD 1080p display, the Lumia 1520 is both the largest and highest resolution Nokia Lumia devices to date, and it sees the Finnish phone maker looking to challenge Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max in the phablet arena.

Of course, unlike Samsung's and HTC's respective devices, the Nokia Lumia 1520 runs Windows Phone 8 rather than Android, which is still a far way behind Android and iOS when it comes to apps on offer, so it remains to be seen whether the device will manage to win over those after a large screened smartphone.

Design and build
The Lumia 1520 looks like a typical Nokia device. Set to launch in four different colours - black, white, red and yellow - the handset features a polycarbonate casing similar to that of the Nokia Lumia 920 handset, but at 8.7mm thick the Finnish firm's latest device is substantially thinner.

Nokia Lumia 1520 in red

The design of the handset is head-turning, especially the red model, but much like Nokia's Lumia 2520 tablet, it can be hard to grasp comfortably due to the glossy nature of the plastic, especially in the baking Abu Dhabi heat. However, it's substantially more comfortable to hold than the clunky HTC One Max, and with a weight of 209g it shouldn't be too uncomfortable to use over long periods.

Display
Unlike with most Nokia smartphones, the display is the real talking point. Measuring 6in, the screen on the Lumia 1520 is the largest to grace a Lumia smartphone to date, with the firm's largest smartphone display measuring just 4.7in.

While that might lead some to believe that display quality could be compromised, it's also the first Nokia phone to feature an HD 1080p display, thanks to the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system, with the phone boasting a pixel density of 367ppi, higher than the 326ppi of the iPhone 5S. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the screen looks great, and colours are noticeably more vivid and sharp than on Nokia's previous HD 720p devices.

nokia-lumia-1520-displa

It's not all about resolution, though. Nokia has also coated the screen with its custom Clearblack technology, which it claims makes for better viewing angles and improved outdoor visibility compared to rival handsets.

We sized up the Lumia 1520's screen against that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, checking it out in a number of lighting situations. The Lumia 1520 outperformed its large screened rival in outdoor visibility, both thanks to Nokia's Clearblack technology and the handset's auto-adjusting screen brightness.

As for size, the screen doesn't feel too big, unlike that of the HTC One Max. Nokia has made good use of the screen space, even giving the Live Tile homescreen an additional column, whereas the large screen on the One Max smartphone felt somewhat unused and unnecessary. The Lumia 1520 could manage to lure business customers, with Microsoft's Office suite scaling to fit the handset's large display.

Operating system and performance
The Lumia 1520 runs Windows Phone 8, and Nokia has provided the phone with its usual slew of custom applications and features, which puts the phone maker ahead of rival Windows Phone OEMs.

While Windows Phone famously lacks in the app department compared to its iOS and Android competitors, Nokia had some big news at Nokia World - that Instagram and Vine will be coming to the operating system in the coming weeks. Another new development in the app department is Nokia's new Camera application, which sees the firm merging its previous Pro and Smart camera apps. This makes taking images much easier than on the Nokia Lumia 1020, for example, and with the horde of both professional and automatic features, the phone feels ahead of the competition when it comes to imaging.

Nokia Beamer is another new app, and again sees the Finnish phone maker looking to win over business customers, with the feature allowing users to share their screen with another phone, a Nokia Lumia 2520 or a PC computer. This is coupled with the usual Microsoft Office suite, and there's also 7GB of cloud storage onboard.

So while Windows Phone might still be lacking in the apps department, it is quickly catching up, and Nokia is well ahead of the game when it comes to rival Windows Phone makers.

Cameras
Nokia has equipped the Lumia 1520 with a decent camera. There's a 20MP sensor on the rear of the phone, which while not quite on a par with the Lumia 1020's chunky 41MP sensor, comes with a dual-LED flash, Carl Zeiss optics and built-in optical image stablisation.

Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 20MP camera

We have yet to test the camera fully, but first impressions are good. Image quality is what you'd expect from a Lumia smartphone, and the host of onboard features means the camera interface is much more advanced, and fun, than that found on rival smartphones.

First impressions
While opening impressions have been fairly positive, there is one downside - the handset will be priced at $749 in the US.

While no UK pricing details have yet been announced, this is a sign that the phone will be expensive, and we can't help but think that Nokia might have priced itself out of the market.

However, for those after a large screened smartphone, the Lumia 1520 is among the best, and outperforms the HTC One Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 when it comes to screen quality. The only major hurdle that buyers have to climb is the fact that the phone runs Windows Phone 8, which is still making its mark against iOS and Android.

How to search in iOS 7

25 Oct 2013

[Updated on 25 October to reflect the iOS 7.0.3 rollout]

With iOS 7, Apple has moved search off of its own area to the left of the home screen to a new, hidden place. If you weren't paying attention to Apple's rather brief introduction to iOS 7 you may not know where that hidden place is, or why it's so different.

First of all, let's find the darn thing. This part is pretty simple: just swipe down from the top of your home screen, about where the top row of app icons are, and the search bar will appear. From there, you'll be able to search to your heart's delight.

Search results in iOS7

If you repeatedly find results from parts of your phone you really don't care about, you can change the areas from which search results are sourced. To do this, go to Settings>General>Spotlight Search. From here you will be able to choose the categories from which you want to see search results appear.

When iOS 7 first launched, Apple mysteriously removed the option to search the web from the search bar. However, the firm has reacted to user complaints and has reinstated it with iOS 7.0.3. So if you'd already moved to iOS 7 from version 6, and this was a feature you were missing, update as soon as possible to version 7.0.3, and you'll be able to type in one search term and get results from your device, the web and Wikipedia.

If you'd like to change the default search engine you get from spotlight search, you can do this by going to Settings>Safari>Search Engine. You can choose from Google, Bing and Yahoo. Be aware that this will also change your default search provider when you're using Safari.

Alternatively, you can try out Google's dedicated iOS search offering.

A list of different areas through which you can conduct a search in iOS7


That's it - Apple's new Spotlight Search demystified.

Nokia Lumia 2520 hands-on review

25 Oct 2013

ABU DHABI: Nokia announced its entry into the tablet market this week with the Lumia 2520, which sees the firm challenging Apple's iPad lineup and Microsoft's Surface devices. We were over in Abu Dhabi for the launch, and gave the 2520 a quick test drive to weigh up its chances for success.

Design
The Lumia 2520 tablet echoes the design of Nokia's Lumia smartphones, which in a market full of lookalike tablets and endless black rectangles could be the device's main selling point. The tablet will be available in four different colours at launch - black, blue, red and yellow - which, while they might not be to everybody's taste, will certainly stand out on shop shelves.

Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet is available in four different colours

Unfortunately, the Lumia 2520 borrows the Lumia 920's glossy rear, rather than the matte polycarbonate backing found on the Lumia 1020 smartphone. This means the tablet, especially in Abu Dhabi's baking heat, can be difficult to grasp one-handed, and we also found that it allowed grease and fingerprints to show up quite easily.

That said, it is a good-sized tablet. The Lumia 2520 measures 267x168x8.9mm, making it skinnier than Apple's latest 10.1in tablet.

Display
The Lumia 2520 matches the iPad when it comes to screen size, featuring a 10.1 1080x1920 display, complete with Nokia's Clearblack and IPS technology. Nokia is making some pretty big claims about this screen, telling V3 that it is brighter than Apple's Retina display despite having a lower pixel density, which it told us was due to the limitations of working with Microsoft.

Nokia Lumia 2520 has a 10.1in 1080p HD display

We sized up the Lumia 2520 next to an Apple iPad 4, and it looks like Nokia's big claims are true. While both tablets offer excellent image quality and vibrancy, Nokia's Windows 8.1 tablet seems to have the edge when it comes to brightness and viewing angles. With the brightness cranked up to full on both, colours looked sharper on the Lumia 2520, and when the tablets were viewed under bright sunlight, the iPad failed to match.

The Lumia 2520's display comes coated in Gorilla Glass for added protection too, which while will likely prevent from scratches, easily showed up fingerprints.

Operating system and performance
The Lumia 2520, despite the Finnish firm's clear business focus, comes running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 RT operating system, rather than Windows 8.1.

Despite this, Nokia was keen to boast that the tablet arrives equipped with the full version of Microsoft Office, and is also one of the first tablets to also feature a Microsoft Outlook application.

Nokia Lumia 2520 runs Windows 8.1 RT

Thanks to Nokia's optional accessory, the Nokia Power Cover, the firm claims the tablet can transform into a mobile PC device, ideal for business users, which is again boosted by the tablet's support for 4G LTE. While this could see the firm getting one up on Microsoft's own Surface Pro 2 tablet, the device could struggle to win over business users due to the lack of on-board enterprise features, with customers instead opting for a Surface Pro tablet running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system.

It's looking to win over customers with speed too, with the Lumia 2520 featuring a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip. During our hands-on time with the tablet, we noticed no performance issues with the tablet. Swiping through the Live Tile interface was slick, apps opened almost instateneously and the tablet appeared to handle multitasking well.

Cameras
As a Nokia device, it will come as no surprise that the Lumia 2520 tablet arrives with a focus on imaging. There's a 6.7MP camera on the rear of the device, which while lacking Nokia's Pureview label, outperforms the competition when it comes to low-light performance. We put this to test alongside an iPad, and the images taken on the Lumia tablet were much more vibrant and offered more detail.

There's a 2MP camera on the front of the device too, which Nokia claims is perfect for video calling.

First impressions
While it might still struggle due to the limitations of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 RT operating system, Nokia has outdone rival manufacturers by stuffing the tablet full of its own features, be they its camera tools, quirky design or custom application lineup, including the firm's Here mapping service. 

iPad Air first impressions

24 Oct 2013

Apple took the wraps off its latest iPad tablet on Tuesday, and surprised the world with a new name, the iPad Air.

As the name might suggest, iPad Air is thinner, lighter and more powerful than the existing full-size model. It sticks with the 9.7in Retina display seen on the previous version, but weighs in at just 469g, measuring a slimline 240x169.5x7.5mm - 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad, which weighed 652g and measured 241x186x9.4mm.

Apple iPad Air is the iPad 5

Apple has also added its A7 processor chip, which debuted on the iPhone 5S, to the iPad Air. This is said to to double the performance while maintaining the 10 hours of battery life, and also delivers 64bit support.

The display is at 2048x1536 resolution, meaning text will be sharp and images well defined, but the bezel is 43 percent smaller meaning the Air is slightly smaller than the existing iPad.

The iPad Air also includes the M7 coprocessor, designed to gather data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency.

However, when we tried this feature out on an iPhone 5S running iOS 7, seeing if the turn-by-turn navigation could tell we’d switched from driving to walking, it didn't work. We will be interested to test this on the new iPad Air to see if it works properly now.

Apple said it has improved mobile support via dual wireless antennas and has more 4G networks covered.

These hardware upgrades don’t represent a huge departure for the iPad over previous versions. The extra performance on offer from the A7 chip will be welcome, but current iPads have always given a smooth and fast experience when browsing, watching video or downloading apps so this probably isn't a major area of interest for potential buyers.

A key issue Apple could have in persuading those new to the tablet market could be the move to iOS 7. There have been numerous complaints about the new mobile platform, ranging from dislike of the flatter, plainer user interface, to annoyance over the removal of features like daily calendar views. However, Apple has gone some way to assuaging these concerns with the iOS 7.0.3 update, released on Wednesday, which reinstates features like universal search and fixes bugs in iMessage.

The remaining criticisms over the interface overhaul are unlikely to stop existing Apple fans from buying one of the new iPads, but it might make tablet virgins more likely to consider Android or Windows tablets like the new Nokia 2520 or Microsoft Surface Pro 2 over the iPad Air running iOS 7.

For business users, there’s not a huge amount to recommend the iPad Air over existing tablets. Apple has thrown in the iWork suite of apps for free, so you can get hold of the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations via your tablet. The firm has also boosted support for sharing and collaborating on work documents with others via iCloud.

apple-ios-iphone-5s-and-iphone-5c-will-come-with-free-keynote-pages-numbers-apps

One missing feature is the fingerprint scanner that was added to the iPhone 5S. We're also still waiting for an updated keyboard accessory to make it a more versatile productivity tool rather than just a media consumption and browsing device. Apple chief Tim Cook pointed out that Apple has the lion's share of the tablet market, but the iPad Air isn't likely to help the firm put more distance between itself and its competitors based on new features.

But overall, the iPad Air is another premium tablet from the Apple stable, and the weight and size differences could prove a key selling point for upgrades and potential new buyers. Where Apple has given itself potential for growth is by bringing the iPad Air to China at the same time as the rest of the world, as this is much more of an untapped market for the US computer giant.

The iPad Air goes on sale at 8am on 1 November in the UK and the US, along with various other countries. It will cost from £399 for the 16GB WiFi-only model, and from £499 with 4G.

iPad Mini 2 vs Nexus 7 spec by spec

23 Oct 2013

Google changed the tablet market in 2012 when it released the original Nexus 7. As well as being the first ever own-brand Google tablet, the Asus-built device was interesting as it held a smaller 7in form factor than the iPad and was radically cheaper.

The offer proved such a hit that Apple, which had previously argued there was no market for a 7in tablet, made a u-turn and unveiled its first 7.9in iPad Mini. One year on Apple has released an upgraded iPad Mini 2, but with Google having again beaten it too the punch, releasing a new more affordable Nexus 7 months before, we've compared the key specs of both tablets to see whether the new Mini looks a better tablet than its Android rival.

Dimensions
iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g
Nexus 7: 200x114x8.65mm, 290g

Visually the iPad Mini 2 and Nexus 7 are about as different as you can get. The Mini has a classic iPad design, featuring metal back and sides and a Gorilla Glass front. The Nexus 7 by comparison has a single piece, slightly rubberised polycarbonate chassis. However, the Nexus 7 is the lighter of the two, weighing a full 40g less than the iPad Mini, meaning it may be the more travel friendly option.

Display
iPad Mini 2: 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display
Nexus 7: 7in 1920x1200 1080p HD 323ppi

The Google Nexus 7 made waves earlier this year, being the first ever tablet to boast a 300ppi-plus display. Aware of this Apple's learned from its mistake with the first iPad Mini, which featured a 7.9in 1,024x768 resolution, 168ppi screen and loaded its latest tiny-tablet with a 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display. while we haven't yet had a chance to run the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini 2 head to head, considering how good other Retina displays are, we're thinking the Nexus 7's reign as best screened tablet could be short lived.

Software
iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
Nexus 7: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

The Apple iPad Mini runs on iOS 7, while the Nexus 7 uses Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Picking which of these is better is largely determined by which PC ecosystem the user is in. For Apple Mac users iOS 7 is better as it features enhanced iCloud syncing powers and a host of free productivity apps, like Pages and iWork. However, for those outside the Apple ecosystem Google's Android applications are more cross-platform friendly and will work within pretty much any ecosystem - meaning they are far more appropriate for businesses using Microsoft Windows.

Google Nexus 7 2 front and back

Processor
iPad Mini 2: A7
Nexus 7: Quad core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
Apple's made a big deal about the A7 processor used in the Apple iPad Mini 2, claiming it makes the tablet offer users four-times better GPU performance and eight-times better graphics than its predecessor. But, even if true, we're not sure it will be able to beat the Nexus 7 in performance. Featuring a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and robust 2GB of RAM we're yet to find a task or application on the Play Store the Nexus 7 can't handle.

Camera
iPad Mini 2: 5MP iSight rear and HD Facetime front
Nexus 7: 5MP and 1.2MP cameras

Both the Apple iPad Mini 2 and Google Nexus 7 boast 5MP rear cameras. Testing the Nexus 7's rear camera, while usable, photos aren't great and generally look slightly washed out or faded. For us this means if even a fraction of Apple's claims about iOS 7's camera software are true, the iPad Mini 2 should be better than the Nexus 7 at taking photos.

Storage
iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Nexus 7: 16GB and 32GB

The Apple iPad Mini 2 has better storage choices than the Nexus 7, featuring 64GB and 128GB options. However the extra storage space comes at a premium. Apple iPad Mini 2 pricing starts from £319 for the 16GB, £399 for the 32GB version, £479 for the 64GB model and £559 for the 128GB model - and that's just for the WiFi only models. By comparison the 16GB and 32GB WiFi only Nexus 7 models cost £199 and £239 respectively.

Overall
In conclusion, on paper the iPad Mini 2 is a very nice tablet. It fixes many of the key problems of its predecessor, featuring a Retina display and significantly more powerful A7 chipset. However, the iPad Mini is still much more expensive than the Nexus 7, which itself boasts some pretty impressive hardware and software. For this reason while we're certain the iPad Mini 2 will prove a hit with established Apple fans, we're not so sure it'll win over many new businesses.

By V3's Alastair Stevenson

iPad Mini 2 first impressions

23 Oct 2013

Apple and Google's Android platform have been wrestling for control of the small-form tablet market for over a year now. This started in 2012 when Apple released the original iPad Mini just months after Google's first ever own-brand tablet, the Nexus 7.

Carrying a high price tag and woefully under specified, the first iPad Mini failed to wow many critics. One year on however, Apple's rethought its strategy and has unveiled a radically upgraded iPad Mini 2.

Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina display

Design
The iPad Mini 2 is fractionally bigger than its predecessor, measuring 200x135x7.5mm and weighing 331g when compared with the original iPad Mini at 200x135x7.2mm and 308g.

Despite the increased weight, the Mini 2 is visually very similar to other Apple products, featuring a metallic back and Gorilla Glass front. This is no bad thing as the Mini 2 looks great and is still light and small enough to remain travel friendly.

Display
One of the iPad Mini 2's biggest upgrades is its 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina Display. The original iPad Mini's screen was the same size but had a disappointing 1024x768 resolution that made the tablet difficult to use in certain situations, like reading small text or editing documents.

Given how good Apple Retina displays have been in the past, the new iPad Mini 2's display could prove a key selling point and we are keen to see how it will compare to that of the new Nexus 7, which was the first tablet with a display that broke the 300ppi density threshold, featuring a 7in 1920x1200 1080p HD screen.

Software
The Apple iPad Mini 2 runs iOS 7 and comes loaded with a host of free productivity apps including Pages and iWork. However, we expect it will be the security features of iOS 7 that will be its key selling point.

Introduced on Apple's current flagship iPhone 5S smartphone, iOS 7 features 41 security updates. These address a number of the operating system's key services and code, including its certificate trust policy, data protection systems and Safari web browser. Considering the sea of Trojan apps targeting the Android ecosystem and Apple's ongoing ability to keep iOS and the software on the App Store malware-free  the combination of productivity services and greater security could be a key differentiator, boosting the iPad Mini 2's business appeal.

Processor
Apple has equipped the iPad Mini 2 with the same A7 chipset as the iPad Air and iPhone 5S. The firm claims the chipset delivers four times faster CPU performance and eight times in the case of graphics. If true, the iPad Mini 2 may well be the snappiest small-form tablet available this year.

Camera
The iPad Mini 2 features an 5MP iSight rear and HD Facetime front camera. We haven't had a chance to test the camera, but considering how poor the original Mini's rear camera was, even with the addition of iOS 7's upgraded camera software we don't have high hopes.

Storage and LTE
The new iPad Mini is set to ship in November and will be available in a variety of storage and connectivity options. The basic 16GB WiFi-only model will cost £320. The 16GB LTE model will cost a more premium £420. This means the iPad Mini 2 will remain more expensive than the Google Nexus 7, the 16GB model of which costs a far more reasonable £200.

Overall
In conclusion, our early impressions of the Apple iPad Mini 2 are very positive. The new iOS 7 tablet features a radically more powerful processor and significantly crisper Retina display than its predecessor. However, it costs over £100 more than its key rival, the Google Nexus 7, which itself has some pretty impressive technology. The question will be whether its enhancements are going to be enough to entice buyers on to shell out the extra cash.

Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Apple iPad Mini 2.

iPad Mini 2 with Retina display vs iPad Mini spec by spec

22 Oct 2013

Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina display

Apple originally entered the tiny-tablet market in 2012 in a bid to stop key competitor Google and its Nexus 7 stealing its market share. But, being powered by already year old technology and costing more than its main rival, the iPad Mini was at best a modest success. Aware of this, one year on Apple's come out swinging unveiling its new iPad Mini 2, which includes a host of radically upgraded internal components.

Here we compare the new device to the older model to see how it stacks up:

Dimensions and weight

iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g
iPad Mini: 200x135x7.2mm, 308g

While the iPad Mini 2 does feature a host of upgraded internal components, the power boost comes at a cost. The iPad Mini 2 is fractionally thicker than its predecessor and nearly 20g heavier.

Display

iPad Mini 2: 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina Display
iPad Mini: 7.9in 1,024x768 resolution, 168ppi display

The original iPad Mini's display was a massive sticking point. This was because despite costing over £100 less, its chief competitor the Google Nexus 7 featured a significantly better HD display that made the Mini's look outright blurry. Aware of this Apple's chosen to load the iPad Mini 2 with a 7.9in Retina display capable displaying nearly twice as many pixels than its predecessor.

Software

iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
iPad Mini: iOS 7

Both the iPad Mini and iPad Mini 2 run on Apple iOS 7. This is no bad thing as the update has a host of security and productivity features. Even better, Apple confirmed at the iPad Mini 2's unveiling it's going to make even more of the productivity apps, including iWork, free for download. This means the new iPad Mini 2 could be one of the most enterprise friendly tablets available this year. Older iPad Mini device owners can also get this raft of productivity tools for free too.

Processor

iPad Mini 2: A7
iPad Mini: Apple A5 dual-core processor

The iPad Mini 2 runs on the same A7 processor as the iPad Air and iPhone 5S. This means it should offer radically better performance than the original Mini, which ran on the A5 chip used in the iPad 2.

Camera

iPad Mini 2: 5MP iSight rear and HD front-facing
iPad Mini: 5MP rear and 1.2MP front-facing

Both the iPad Minis feature 5MP rear cameras, but the iPad Mini 2 features and improved HD FaceTime front camera. Apple claims the FaceTime front camera can perform significantly better in low light conditions making it much more suitable for video calling and conferencing purposes.

Storage

iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
iPad Mini: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB flash

The iPad Mini 2 will be available in more storage and connectivity options than its predecessor. However, it will be significantly more expensive with a basic WiFi-only 16GB iPad Mini 2 costing £320. The 16GB-WiFi only original iPad Mini by comparison will retail for a more modest £250.

Battery

iPad Mini 2: 10 hours
iPad Mini: 10 hours

Both the iPad Mini 2 and iPad Mini are listed as having 10 hour battery lives. If true means they will have above average battery life, with most Android tablets boasting an average battery life off around seven hours.

Overall

The Apple iPad Mini 2 is a significant step up from its predecessor, as it features a more powerful A7 chipset and Apple's Retina display technology. However, with Apple having wisely chosen to keep selling the original iPad Mini at a significantly reduced cost, true bargain hunters that don't need the extra power may well choose to save their cash and go for the older model.

By V3's Alastair Stevenson

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